Why I chose Prague

Why I chose Prague

Amazing people and support system, free round-trip flights, affordable living cost, great school, cheap travel, and free expeditions. Here’s how I do it all!

I have always known that I want to study abroad during my years in college because it is a great chance to discover the world and myself. Prague was not a popular destination for studying abroad at my school comparing to other European countries like Italy or U.K., but it was one of the options that fit right into my criteria: A country, whose native language is not English, but I can go to school in English and survive. In addition, a friend of mine told me that she had an amazing time in Prague and it is not a very crowded program. I thought:

“Why tell the same story like everyone else? I want to experience something new, and learn things I’ve never learned.”

I did not know anything about Prague or the Czech Republic, except for something about Communist history. I thought it would be a great cultural and language experience to push myself out of my comfort zone and the expected. I also potentially had a chance to learn a new language! I always love the challenge and see where my talent lands. I took on the decision to apply for the school and study abroad program at my institution, St. Norbert College (SNC).

Me in front of Charles bridge looking over the Castle of Prague

SNC has one of the most supporting study-abroad programs; they helped me with a lot of the process and made me feel better when I was anxious because of my VISA situation, but I can tell you all about this in a later day. Moreover, the connection between SNC and my school abroad, Anglo-American University (my dear AAU) was through an organization called CEA Study Abroad. They are amazing. They provided me help from my very first steps of applying for the school, to get all of my paperwork, as well as on-site assistance with the amazing people at their Prague office, whose people I love dearly. I can’t thank them enough for answering my nervous phone calls and be patient with my “special” situation.

At the end of the day, I am (probably) in college only once; and it costs the same to go abroad, even less.

Most of what we, students afraid the most about studying abroad is the cost, but many of us don’t know that it could be less costly than living in the U.S. So, the tuition is the same as that of SNC with the subtraction of my school’s scholarships. Plus, about $2k6 for housing, which is the price for the cheapest shared room for Freshmen’s SNC on-campus housing (it gets more expensive as you grow). So, it was not a bad deal for going abroad because I saved money paying for more costly room and board (meal plan) because food and utilities in Prague are much cheaper and the U.S. ($1 = 27 Crowns when I was there, and you can pay about $3-5 for a good meal).

Astronomical Clock at the center of Prague Old Town

On one side, CEA arranges housing (my place was 5-minute walking from the center of Prague and public transportation), housekeeping, free public transportation, and free airport pick-up for us. On the other side, they also offer some generous opportunities to save your money on CEA scholarships, travel vouchers, and free expeditions/day trips inside and outside of Prague.

  • I applied for a couple scholarships and get one of them that helped me pay my deposit and some of the fee
  • My travel voucher from CEA was worth $780 for flights on Student Universe, which cover everything for my $680 round-trip flight. FREE FLIGHT!
    • Their travel vouchers are usually on their websites; or when you start your application on the site, they will keep sending you the code for voucher until you finish applying. Here’s the one for this year:

  • You should also take a look at school’s scholarship sites to see if there is any that could apply to study abroad and apply for it. For instance, Phi Kappa Phi offers a study-abroad scholarship of $1000 for students who have the sufficient GPA.

CEA office in Prague is a 15-minute walk from AAU (or you can take the tram on a bad day), so I went there for all of my questions about school, travel, and all other stuff. They usually offer us coffee and some treats. At the office, you can use their computer lab, lounge, and print for free. And, they have exceptionally welcoming and heartwarming people working there. That was why I was a regular. They also offer a wide range of FREE activities like:

  • Yoga, Rock Climbing, and other work out to keep yourself in shape and de-stress
  • Czech culture and language workshops
  • Prague’s expeditions to different historical, cultural, and just beautiful and famous places in general including
    Strahov Monastery Brewery, the Opera, Hockey game, and the Prague Zoo.
  • Out-of-city trips to beautiful places like day trips to Czechy Krumlov and a 3-day trip to Poland, all free.

And of course, the transportation is free, so you can go any where in the city to explore it. Prague is a very large, beautiful and diverse place.

Additionally, it is very affordable to travel from Prague to most places in Europe due to its location in the middle of the land, so you can take a bus (cheapest option) or train to most places like Germany, Austria, Italy, etc. for less than $25. Prague is also a big travel hub, so you can find flights from and to Prague for very cheap prices, like $40 for a round-trip to London, and $50 to the Netherlands. That was why I could go to 11 countries and countless cities in 4 months abroad with a college-student pocket.

I hope you would consider Prague as a destination to go for your abroad semester or year. I will be posting more blog post about traveling or just studying abroad in general. Check out Study Abroad and Travel to read more about it. Let me know if you have any questions are comment below and I will try answering them all!

Here are some helpful websites for some more info: SNC Study AbroadCEA Study Abroad, Anglo-American University 

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